This advice was correct at the time of publishing on the 9 August 2020.
Preston Area for Intervention
Due to the rise in local Covid-19 infections Preston has been declared an 'area of Intervention'. Commercial premises such as bars, pubs and restaurants do not have to close however this change affects the way residents socialise both at home and in commercial premises.
Does my workplace have to close?
Certain business and venues have to close under the new Coronavirus Regulations.
If your workplace is one which is exempt or not included in the governments list, then you may remain open.
Businesses and premises that must close
GOV.UK has provided guidance on opening certain businesses and venues in England from 4 July 2020, following further easing of coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.
My workplace should be closed but its open, what can be done?
The Police and Preston City Council have powers to close businesses that remain open against the government orders. You can report business you think should be closed using the button below
My workplace can remain open, what can it do to prevent the spread of Coronavirus?
The Health and Safety Executive have published two guidance leaflets Working Safely During the Coronavirus Outbreak and Talking with your Workers about Preventing Coronavirus which are very useful and should be read in conjunction with the rest of the information on this page.
As an employer you should undertake a risk assessment focusing on Covid-19. You should use the government guidance to help you inform and complete your risk assessments. The guidance is listed below.
For more information on how to undertake a risk assessment go to the CoVid-19 HSE Risk Assessment web pages which include a template Risk Assessment.
Preston City Council has developed an
that you can use to help you when drafting your risk assessment.
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other areas where they will be seen.
- Provide employees with tissues and waste bins lined with a plastic bag so that they can be emptied without contacting the contents.
- Instruct employees to clean their hands frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 70% alcohol and to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Provide paper towels and turn of hand dryers to prevent the spread of air borne particles.
- Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations and in common areas to encourage hand hygiene.
- Ensure employees keep at least 2 meters away from each other, where possible.
- Move workstations or designate workstations as vacant during this time.
- Reduce the number of employees in the workplace at any one time, perhaps introduce shift working.
- Provide screens to protect employees from sneezes or coughs.
- Prop open doors so they do not have to be touched (however you should consider your fire risk assessment if the doors are fire doors nor allow staff to work in an uncomfortable draft).
- Allow employees to work from home, where possible and practical to do so. Please visit the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) guidance for home working.
- Make sure ventilation systems are operating properly and that windows are opened to allow fresh air into the premises.
You should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with over 50 workers to do so).
Below you will find a notice you should display in your workplace to show you have followed this guidance.
Do Customers need to wear face masks in my business?
The government has brought into law the requirement that customers wear face coverings in the following businesses;
- all shops, supermarkets and takeaways (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
- indoor shopping centres
- banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)
Customers do not need to wear face coverings in the following businesses:
Hospitality settings, including:
- restaurants with table service
- bars, and pubs.
- entertainment venues (such as cinemas or casinos)
- visitor attractions (such as heritage sites or museums)
- exercise and sports venues (such as gyms)
Can customers remove their face coverings?
Where a shop is within another premises which does not require a face covering (such as a museum or other visitor attraction) they are required in the shop only.
If a shop or supermarket has a café or seating area for customers to eat and drink, then face coverings can removed in this area only. Customers must put a face covering back on once they leave your seating area.
Are employees required to wear face coverings?
There is no requirements for employees to wear face coverings under these regulations. You should undertake a risk assessment to decide if your employees should wear face coverings/masks or visors. If employees are within 2 meters of customers and talking to them, then they may be required to wear a face visor for protection, e.g. a waitress or bar staff.
Are there exemptions to wearing a face covering?
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):
- young children under the age of 11,
- not being able to put on, a face covering because of a disability,
- it will cause severe distress,
- providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate,
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or other, to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm,
- to eat or drink if reasonably necessary,
- in order to take medication,
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering
There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:
- if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
- if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, the purpose of assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
- if speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication
Should my employees approach persons not wearing a facemask?
Employees should already be trained in approaching customers who are breaking rules and forming a judgement on whether they can approach that person or if they may need further assistance. Employers should review their workplace violence risk assessment. The Police enforce the regulations on wearing face covering and they should be called on 999
- a serious offence is in progress or has just been committed
- someone is in immediate danger or harm
- property is in danger of being damaged
- a serious disruption to the public is likely
or on 101 in non-emergency situations, for advice etc.
For full details of the requirements to wear face coverings you should visit Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own
Example face covering posters for businesses;
If you want customers to wear a face covering in your business but it isn't the law you can use this poster:
Sector Specific Guidance published by the Government
The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, this is the HM Government Guidance. When undertaking your risk assessment you must have regard to the available guidance.
Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action, so long as the same level of protection is achieved. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to guidance. Failure to implement suitable control measure may lead to formal action being taken against the duty holder(s).Other industry guidance is also included below.
These guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe;
Food and Hospitality
- HM Government Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway Services
- HM Government Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- HM Government Performing Arts
- HM Government The Visitor Economy (e.g. Hotels and other accommodation, Visitor Attractions, Business Events & Shows, Tourist Businesses)
- GOV.UK - Advice for Accommodation providers (Hotels, Hostels, Caravan Sites, B and B's, etc)
- Advice for Food Business
- The Council has produced advice for Pubs, Clubs, Bars and Restaurants selling alcohol
- UK Hospitality has released recommendations to help businesses reopen safely post lock-down, including Pubs/Bars and Hotels.
- A Hotel reopening planning guide has been produced by Michels and Taylor
- Cask Marque's Countdown to re-opening guide 2020
- British Beer & Pub Association's Guidelines for Consideration when Selecting an Appropriate Method for Retrieval of Containers from Pub Cellars
Offices & Contact Centres
Hair and Beauty Salons and Spa's
Places of Worship
General Guidance for all workplaces
Ensure sufficient signage is displayed so customers and employees understand the rules in place within your premises. As a minimum we would expected to see the following information displayed within premises;
- Consider whether the meeting or event is necessary or whether it could be postponed.
- Consider a tele or video conference call.
- Consider inviting fewer people.
- If the meeting is in a workplace ensure that 2 meters are kept between attendees.
Routine Environmental Cleaning
- Frequently clean all touched communal surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and door handles. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- You may wish to employ more cleaners or increase the hours of your regular cleaner(s).
- Remove items from common areas such as newspapers or newsletter that may spread the virus.
- No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
It is likely the number of people that will be allowed into the toilet facilities at any one time will need to be restricted as they can often small and cramped rooms.
You will need to set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible. You can achieve this by;
- Restrict the number of people using the facilities at any one time; the maximum number will be determined the by number of W.C's and the size of the facilities. If there are fewer toilet facilities available for use, the occupancy of the premises may need to be reduced or more toilet facilities provided.Most toilet will probably need to operate a one in one out policy.
- Provide paper towels for hand drying and ensure the bins are emptied before they are full. Hand dryers can also be used.
- Close every other urinal and sink to ensure social distancing is maintained.
- Provide sanitiser wipes in W.C's so users can clean the toilet for themselves prior to use. Ensure you provide a bin for the wipes and ask persons not to flush the wipes (They may block your drains if flushed).
- Remind people to close the toilet lid when flushing a W.C. this helps prevents the spread of the virus.
- Ensure that a thorough regular clean takes place of all surfaces that are likely to be touched such a taps, door handles/locks toilets seats etc. Organise cleaning after busy periods such as lunch time or shift changes. You are likely to need to extend the hours of, or take on more, cleaning staff.
- Ensure that clear signage is erected so that people know the restrictions/rules for using the toilet facilities, consider using a 'toilet attendant' during busy times to ensure no over crowding occurs inside the toilets.
- Display clear signage reminding people to wash their hands thoroughly before and after using the facilities.
- Consider where people will have to wait/queue to use the toilet facilities, consider using floor markings/barriers etc. Try to avoid people queuing in narrow corridors or other bottle necks.
The Council has produced a number of Posters that businesses may wish to use to control their toilet facilities:
Someone at my workplace is unwell
Someone at my workplace is in a vulnerable group
Someone at my workplace has had a confirmed case of coronavirus, what should happen?
My workplace handles cash, what can be done?
There is no law to prevent workplaces from accepting cash transactions. However the virus can be transmitted on cash. Therefore employees are at risk if handling cash when they are taking orders and cashing up at the end of the night. If employees catch the virus you maybe forced to close the business (because everyone is sick or isolating), especially in small businesses.
We would strongly recommend setting up a contactless payment system. There are systems such as iZettle, sum up, or square reader (other brands are also available). These are usually relatively cheap to set up and run.
You will need to ensure that all employees are given suitable and sufficient training in the new Covid-19 control measures that you are implementing within your workplace. In large workplaces you will need to ensure that all employees have adequate supervision to ensure Social Distancing is maintained.
There are free on-line training courses available to help you educate your employees on the basics and background to Covid-19 many can be found using a Google search.
These are stressful times for employers and employees.
It is important to ensure there are clear lines of communication between senior managers and all employees.
Employers should review and update their stress at work policies and revisit their employee assistance programmes.
Ensure employees are aware of any help available to them.
Please visit the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website for information on stress at work.
Where can I go for advice on employer and employee relations?
The Environmental Health department cannot get involved in disputes between employers and employees.
Generally if an employer requires you to attend work you should go, or you may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
If you cannot reach a compromise with your employer you should contact your Trade Union, ACAS or Citizens Advice for advice and guidance.
The ACAS website contains useful information on the following subjects:
Reporting under RIDDOR
You must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:
- an unintended incident at work has led to someone's possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
- a worker has been diagnosed as having Covid-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus
For further information on Covid-19 and RIDDOR, or to make a RIDDOR report got to the HSE's website RIDDOR Reporting of COVID-19.
The Environmental Health Department is committed to helping both employers and employees during the Covid-19 emergency.
We would urge employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their workforce.
We ask that all employees work with their employers to create and maintain a safe working environment for everyone.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice or information. You can contact us on 01772 906907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.